SPARK! was a grant scheme to support digital pedagogies and innovative uses of technology for the benefit of students’ learning.

The scheme provided seed-funding to projects that will introduce new ideas, explore innovative teaching and learning practices, and will have a positive impact on student learning outcomes.

Spark Funding is no longer active – to apply for funding for Small scale TEL projects, head over to the Eden Centre Funding page, Catalyst Funding Tab. 

Through the Catalyst Fund, we continue to be interested to fund projects in these categories:

Tags: co-production, co-creation, digital storytelling, visual storytelling, visual methods, visuality, visual social sciences, bricolage, open data, social media, social web, social learning, student research, audio-visual media, heutagogy, synergogy, assessment diversity.

Examples: students producing short films for an end-of-course presentation; writing and peer evaluation of blog posts on core concepts; creating research posters and/or infographics.

Tags : games, gamification, playfulness, innovation, game theory, simulations, game-based learning

Examples: using gamification elements such as badges or leaderboards; creating simulations to link theory to practice; using an existing game or creating your own in your course.

Tags: online learning, blended learning, independent learning, learning community, MOOCs, SPOCs, SNOCs, DOCCs, flipped classroom, multimedia

Examples: create online learning activities to be used in seminars or for extra practice for students; use video-conferencing in or outside of the classroom.

Tags: e-portfolio, e-marking, e-feedback, peer-review, self-assessment

Examples: introduce e-portfolios, peer review, or e-marking and feedback tools in formative or summative assessment.

Tags: learning spaces, groupwork, blended learning, problem-based learning, immersive teaching, classroom technologies, flipping

Examples: experimenting with different teaching styles and room setups; introducing project-based seminars; deconstructing the teaching hierarchy, i.e. students become teachers.; using technology to open up the space.

Tags: social media, digital literacy, BYOD, data collection, instant voting

Examples: harness the computing power in your students’ bags:introduce BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) into the classroom for data crowdsourcing, collective research, instant voting; introduce agile teaching by using polling; enhance and support digital literacy by integrating social media

Tags: innovation, flipping, learning analytics, blended learning designs, cross-collaboration with other universities; distance collaboration;

Examples: Pushing the boundaries of teaching and learning by experimenting with new trends and teaching experiences. Using online tools to introduce group work across institutions and countries. Replacing traditional lecture and seminars with more flexible and student focused sessions.

2018/2019 SPARK! Winners 

This project aims to generate an online resource that can host work carried out by undergraduate students on our second-year core course EH237 by developing a website that will be populated with transcripts of letters written by migrants in the nineteenth century. Students will be responsible for transcribing, calendaring and commenting on the letters. This exercise is intended to give them direct experience of key qualitative research skills – one of the core learning aims of EH237. The website will make their work available for use by other historians, schools and the general public, giving the students a focus for their work and a visible product to invest in.

The aim of the project is to complement the usual approach to Chinese foreign policy—which focuses on critically evaluating texts and images—with a practical approach of making a short propaganda-style film. The aim is that by creating their own work, students will better understand the politics involved in soft power and propaganda in China and more generally.

The proposal for this project is for the implementation of a collaborative platform, most likely Microsoft Teams. The aim is to provide students with a platform where they can collaborate effectively outside of the class, an activity which is of great importance as there will be a reduction in the length of the face-to-face sessions to better accommodate the need for personalised support and provision of feedback. The Foundational Legal Skills course adopts a blended learning approach, with weekly classes throughout the Michaelmas term and online materials instead of lectures. A digital collaborative platform will encourage student engagement and participation.

This project is aiming to impact the use of simulations in the pedagogy of International Relations. While the curriculum and research of International Relations is increasingly interested in the role of the digital context and news cycle of international relations, its pedagogy has not yet been developed in this direction. Thus, this proposal for a simulation of Twitter diplomacy in international negotiation stands as step towards integrating social media into simulations in the pedagogy of International Relations.

This project seeks funding for support of a three-part recorded lecture that students will view before they start MC433: Technology and Justice. The theory portion of the recorded lecture will overview two core theories from which the course will build. The rationale portion of the record lecture will explain why this course exists, what its inspiration is, why it focuses on history, governance, and technology, and what it recognizes as key terms. The course overview video will provides with detail the goals for the course, its format, how students can best approach the course, background on readings, assessment, and practical matters. Ideally, the recorded lecture will allow students to pose questions or respond to material in an interactive manner. Questions and/or responses will feed into the first class lecture and be documented on the course wiki.

2017/2018 SPARK! Winners

Augmented Reality equipment is used throughout a new course “Behavioural Science in an Age of New Technology” to demonstrate how it can create behavioural change.  Students will then be given the opportunity to create dissertation research that would combine this technology with real-world behavioural interventions. “The world is becoming increasingly digital, and many of the students whom I supervise for their dissertation projects want undertake research that would investigate how technology can be used to create behavioural interventions that would nudge people to eat healthier, exercise more, make better decisions, etc”. Dario Krpan, Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. Read more

H5P activities such as audio recordings, dialog cards, and self-test questions, will be used to deliver content and facilitate ongoing self-assessment, which will allow students to improve their skills. LTI will be helping with developing H5P interactive activities on Moodle and with the evaluation of the use of H5P and it’s impact on student learning. Read more

Students will conduct research using crowdsourcing platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk, Crowdflower or Prolific to carry out replication studies in psychology in different populations.  Students will be able to work together to discuss common issues and share their individual data collections for cross-cultural comparisons. Read more


2016/17 SPARK! Winners

This project aims to replace group presentations with short films narrating the students’ take on the theme of multiculturalism in a fourth year European Institute course. “I want students to approach the role of presentation in EU 458 from a fresh perspective that facilitates greater creativity and ownership of ideas. ” Jennifer Jackson-Preece, European Institute. Read more

“The aim of the project is to create a platform, using Numbas maths e-assessment software, for the MA100 Mathematical Methods course. This platform will be accessible by any student on the MA100 course via a PC with a reasonable internet connection. It will be designed to present a question to the student, guide them and provide hints where necessary, and assess their work. The questions will serve as the homework that they currently get. “ Michael Yasemides. Read more

“The podcast would involve mixed student groups interviewing key LSE staff members (and eventually external interviewees) about their research, with the aim of (a) breaking down barriers between students and academics, (b) encouraging the students to engage with ‘leading edge’ research produced in the school, (c) helping develop a culture where students can critically evaluate the research considered by academics in the department.” Neil Lee, Department of Geography. Read more

“This project aims to produce and disseminate original, student-led research through an innovative online platform which will include audio-visual media (e.g. recorded interviews, data visualisation, and short documentaries) alongside more conventionally-grounded academic output (e.g. text-based reports). The project also aims to improve students’ learning through the development of transferable skills in coding, photo and video editing, data visualisation, and associated skillsets”. Christina Russell, Department of Media and Communications. Read more

“This project aims at teaching students to bring their research to life by offering training in data visualisation techniques. Educational modules using Tableau software will help students enhance their ability to tell stories with data and better communicate their research. Data visualisation is an integral feature of the information age, and research has shown the positive effect of visualisation on pedagogy”. Kiran Phull, Department of International Relations. Read more

This project aims to introduce a new form of assessment with student-produced videos. “Students learn to analyse a document looking at who made the source, in what context, with what audience in mind, and what scholarly arguments surround it…” Taylor Sherman, Department of International History. Read more


2015/16 SPARK! Winners 

The Game of Research is designed for social science students undertaking a final-year qualitative primary research dissertation. Through the game students learn the six essential components for a successful qualitative research project: research question, design/proposal, ethical approval, methods/fieldwork, analysis, writing and referencing.  Read more

In this project, Tobias will develop, document, and teach a Workshop for Sustainable Authorship for students of the LSE that familiarizes and equips them with the writing environment of Academic Markdown. Read more

This project will “explore the usefulness of establishing and curating an open access digital ‘living’ archive to support problem-based learning about contemporary topics in global business management particularly (but not only) reconfiguring business models and service innovation”. Susan Scott, Department of Management. Read more

This project aims to design and implement three PowerPoint-based interactive simulations for use in introductory undergraduate classes. According to Gustav and Andreas “currently available solutions are targeted at course-long activities, at a high cost of time and preparation effort for both teachers and students. Instead, this project explicitly aims at providing a low-cost, easily accessible and class-long interactive experience to students to encourage theoretical linkage with own in-class experience” See more

The project will develop the use of student blogs as one component of the summative assessment for AN300 Advanced Theory of Social Anthropology. Students will create and maintain their own blog using the WordPress platform. “It is hoped that students will be able to articulate and develop original ideas prompted by their reading of these books, and relate them to other literature they have read over the course of their degree.” Harry Walker, Department of Anthropology. Read more

Olga produced a series of podcasts based on the key vocabulary (words, expressions and sentences) from each unit and created corresponding scripts. She made the package available to download via the Moodle course. Many students said that “they helped increase their confidence as language users and proved very helpful when preparing for the exam mentioned that the podcasts”. Olga Sobolev, Language Centre. See more

“As a blogging platform, Mahara has functionality whereby it is possible for anyone to comment on a particular blog. The first part of the feedback process therefore involved students reading at least one blog post by another student and providing feedback (in the form of a comment) to the author. The function was also used for the markers to provide feedback on the blog posts”. Edgar Whitley, Department of Management. See more